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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  March 30, 2018 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT

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he'll have to find someone else for that. aubrey drake graham put it best, i've got to stay in my zone. you say we've been beefing. roger, you aon your own. check out a very special edition of the last word tonight at 10:00 p.m. eastern. up next, "hardball" credible. >> getting colder? let's play "hardball." >> good evening. i'm steve kornacki. there are new signs tonight that the already strained relationship between the united states and russia is reaching a combustible new phase. those tensions are now testing the relationship between president trump and the man he has stubbornly refused to criticize, vladimir putin after the united states expelled 60 russian spies from the country on monday, the kremlin
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retaliated yesterday by ordering the removal of 60 american diplomats and forcing closure of a u.s. consulate in st. petersburg. hours later in a conspicuous show of force, the kremlin test launched a new intercontinental ballistic missile this morning. it is said to be capable of delivering up to 15 nuclear warheads. putin claims the weapon is impervious to american defenses. all of this sparked by the unprecedented chemical attack this month against a former russian spy and his daughter on british soil, that the uk and u.s. both blame on russia. despite russia's provocations which date back to interference in the election, the new russian ambassador to the united states says both countries are to blame. >> why do you think the relationship between our two countries has deteriorated to this point, and what responsibility is russia willing to take for that? >> first, you see that i don't understand why russian should
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take any responsibility because you'll see when we advance, it means we both are responsible. it seems to me that atmosphere in washington is poison, is poisoned. it's a toxic atmosphere. even i made a joke, my press secretary saying that today, russia is responsible for everything even for bad weather. it's high time for us to stop blaming each other. >> and now in the wake of that assassination attempt in britain, nbc news reports that the poisoned former spy was allegedly on a kremlin hit list along with seven other targets this according to another former russian agent living in the uk who spoke to nbc's richard engel in a recent interview saying the alleged kremlin hit list includes the name of christopher steele, the former british intelligence officer who blew the whistle on russian meddling in the u.s. election in 2016. i'm joined by the author of that report nbc's richard engel in
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salisbury, england where the poisoning occurred. peter take, chief white house correspondent for the "new york times" and anyone nap is the great grand daughter of nikki ta khrushchev. richard, let me start with you. the idea that this assassination attempt part of a hit list. what can you tell us about that? >> well, it's certainly plausible according to a former british intelligence official who is familiar with russia and russian tactics. i can tell you that the poisoning that happened here in salisbury sent a chill down the russian community living in this country. the uk has been something of a magnet for russian dissidents for critics of putin and frankly, for spies who have changed sides and come here to take refuge. we spoke to two former spies, both people that the kremlin considers traitors.
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they are both concerned for their future, concerned for their lives. and one of them said that in february, he received a call from someone on the inside. we have no way to verify he received that call. we weren't on call. he described that he was on this call, that he got a tipoff his name was on a hit list that steele and skripal was on the hit list and that he became deeply concerned when a short time after that, skripal was found in a state of paralysis on a park bench not far from where i am right now. >> you're being told seven people supposedly on had list including steele, five others. any sense who they might be if these are all connected, all sort of individual isolated cases? what else do you know about it? >> one of the other prominent names on the list was a businessman named bill browder. i've interviewed him before. he says he knows the russians want him, that the kremlin wants
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him dead he thinks. said that this is no -- he told me specifically if something ever bad happens to me, everyone should know who did it. he means the kremlin. so that his name was on it and other people who russia considers -- who the kremlin considered traitors. >> nina khrushchev, poisonings on foreign soil, this is missile test that russia launched today putin saying impervious to american defenses shutting down con is sue lats. spies kicked out of this country. a lot of people's minds we read about, saw, witnessed during the cold war. when you look an the present moment, the state of relations between the two countries how do they stack up? >> it's very cold warrish. i'm constantly confronted with the thought i'm watching something from the spy who came in from the cold and reading john la ca ray. it's developing in front of our
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eyes. it's a very chilling reality and it is a possibility that there is a hit list. i wouldn't imagine that there's anything in writing because no good kremlin would leave something like that in writing. putin doesn't like his enemies. we know that he has a very long memory trained by the kgb in a kgb universe, a traitor is a traitor and needs to be punished at any cost. >> if there is a hit list, is there anything more to it, anything more to be read into it the fact not only that he wants to settle a score or whatever, but that he's willing to do it on foreign soil in this moment? >> well, i think what he's doing, they're using an opportunity. from what i know the way kgb functions it's not even the kgb, it's a gru, military intelligence. there is an opportunity and they do it. it can be anywhere. whatever the opportunity presents itself. this is something that needs to be considered and for them, the
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world is the limit. so that is a possibility. but i also think that in some ways the combination of things may not necessarily -- and i'm almost sure that it's not by putin's making, it's all of the stars collided in this one thing and suddenly we're talking about not just about the poisoning or the new testing, it the missile is called satan 2, quite appropriate, exactly. and all these other things and the election happened in russia. i think it's one of those very big waves. the question is whether russia or the united states would get out of that wave and turn into some sort of road that they can be some conversation happening. > that brings to us the question of the leadership in this country, the recent escalation with russia, also testing president trump who since becoming a candidate for president expressed admiration
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for putin. while he's shown a reluctance to criticize him for his actions, trump's tougher line in recent days even caught u.s. allies off guard. as one russia scholar said, the president's heart doesn't seem to be in it but for whatever reason, he's willing to go along with his advisers. trump's public silence about his shift in policy may stem from his continued desire for closer relations with putin and taking a more aggressive stance on ukraine, the president told his aides not to the it out his decision. doing so he argued might agitate putin. peter baker, the accusation against trump has been that he's soft on putin and has some kind of admiration for putin that would have a policy ramification as president. now we've seen this week kicking out five dozen spies from u.s. soil and a couple months ago, we're talking about the policy in ukraine, sending anti-tank equipment, missiles over there to ukraine.
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that's a step even the obama administration didn't take. how can we square their posture in terms of policy from trump with that refusal to publicly say much about putin. >> that's the central mystery right now about this administration when it comes to russia. you do see a hardening line. our reporting shows before secretary of state rex tillerson was fired he came to the conclusion that the attempt to cooperate with putin's kremlin wasn't working. they should take a new approach that would involve more active measures like sanctions which we saw imposed in retaliation finally for the 2016 meddling in the campaign. and then obviously, this action this week in terms of the expulsions. you're right the president chooses not to say anything about it publicly. he doesn't want to alienate president putin. there's a reluctance on his part to in effect validate critics who are saying how come you don't say anything tougher on putin. he doesn't like this whole
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investigation that dogs him and insists the notion of collusion during the campaign was a hoax and therefore, he doesn't want to give in to critics. it does create this you can you duality of policy where they're willing to throw out more diplomats than at any point and yet the president of the united states remains silent. >> richard engel, what do you know from are the standpoint of russia and putin these actions -- it was a couple months ago with the missiles to ukraine but this week kicking out dozens of spies from the u.s. did putin, was he expecting that? did he think this might happen? did that catch him off guard? does he feel maybe he's misread trump in some way? >> it's hard to know what's going on inside putin's mind inside the kremlin. i think we have a good sense of why there was this international outburst and this international flurry. diplomatic activity expelling russian diplomats from a couple
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dozen countries. i think it was about the precedent. this was not just some enemy of the kremlin who was assassinated. this man or attempted to be assassinated. this man wasn't strangled or pushed out a window. he was exposed and his daughter to a military grade nerve agent in a small city where i am right now in england. two people were seen on a bench frozen solid foaming at the mouth. that is not something that people can ignore. and there was a deep concern among european officials, certainly among british officials and probably american officials, as well unless some sort of line was drawn in the sand, this could be replicated. >> nina, on that question of whether this posture shift from the united states if you want to call it that, has caught putin off guard, you said no to that? >> i don't think so. i think he didn't expect probably 23 countries to do that and most of european union
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including georgia which was former soviet republic and has been recently having good relationship. but i think he is preparing himself. i think the game is on. he's waging a war. we just heard from the new russian ambassador that what is russia to blame for and if the west wants to approach it this way, putin is very willing to take that brinksmanship and stare and see who will break first. >> what is his bottom line? when you look at russia on the world stage, is this posture he's taken in the last few years, is it about russia's role on the world stage or about using other global actors to advance his own domestic agenda, his own standing domestically within russia. >> as gore bo chav would say, where there is a question there is an answer. i think it's both. he wants russia to be seen as great power, to return to super power status and he has little to show in terms of economy.
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his gas and oil kind of game really has gone down. what does he have left? he has left his posture and he has his nuclear and other military things. also, he wants to be seen as somebody who can stand up to the united states which he thinks is hypocritical, is unfair to russia. it is i think one last line of defense that until trump speaks to him and says putin, you are a murderer, putin is still going to play this game slightly less pushy than he has because he thinks there's some possibility with trump. i think that is really quite quickly waning away and soon enough, will be in an absolute brinksmanship that we saw at the end of the cold war and in the '60s, say the cuban missile crisis. >> to be in this moment given trump and what he has said publicly and not said about russia, the expectations versus the moment you're just describing there, this is in some ways very difficult a
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process. thank you for helping us all tonight. nina, peter, richard appreciate all of that. tune in tonight for an all new on assignment with richard engel airing 8:00 eastern right here on msnbc. coming up, two breaking stories tonight. there are protests in sacramento following the police shooting of an unarmed black man comes as authorities released new footage of another deadly confrontation with police this one in baton rouge, louisiana. later the white house playing defense over its new pick to head the va. once again, president trump seems toe have gone rogue in calling out his latest cabinet nominee. plus, trump may have coined the phrase "you're fired," but tonight there's more proof he likes to leave the dirty work to others. finally, the roundtable will be here with three things you might not know. this is "hardball" where the action is. so i'm not happy unless my hands are dirty. between running a business and four kids, we're busy.
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she's a bully and needs to be held accountable. i don't care what title you have. a bully must be held accountable. that's what we're trying to do here. >> as parkland shooting survivor david hogg speaking out about laura ingraham, earlier this week she tweeted he had been rejected from four colleges. in response he asked advertisers to boycott her show. since then at least ten companies pulled ads. ingraham said i apologize for any upset or hurt my tweet caused or any of the brave victims of parkland. be right back. tch. it brings your business up to speed, doing more with systems you have in place. it can bring all your apps to life and run them within your data center. it is... the ibm cloud private. the cloud that's built for all your apps. ai ready.
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suspended tore three days. sterling's 2016 killing captured on video prompted nationwide protests. on tuesday, the state attorney declined to charge the officers because of insufficient evidence. the department of justice also concluded there wasn't enough evidence to bring federal civil rights charges against the officers. late today, police released video showing the moments led leading up to sterling's death. here's gabe gutierrez with the noit footage. it is disturbing to watch. >> reporter: footage shows the officers responding to a 911 call in 2016. >> we got an individual at the triple s he's selling cds. he's got a 9 millimeter whatever in his pocket and he draw it. >> reporter: a man claiming alton sterling selling cds outside this convenience store. >> get on the ground. >> reporter: the officers confront sterling and the encounter escalates quickly.
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previously released cell phone video from a bystander showed part of the struggle but this surveillance video from the store shows the moments before and after as officer salamone yells at sterling. >> meanwhile in sacramento, the family of stefon clark released a private autopsy today that found he was shot six times in the back and eight times total. in response to the findings, the sacramento police department said it had not been provided with the official report from the coroner's office yet. the 22-year-old father of two was killed on march 18th in the backyard of his grandmother's house. according to the department the officers who shot him thought he was armed. no weapon was found, just a cell phone. the officers have been placed on administrative leave. i'm joined now by nbc's joe fryer. what can you tell us? >> reporter: steve, here's what we can tell you. this autopsy was an independence one that was commissioned by the attorneys representing clark's family. up till now, all we knew is that
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police officers fired 20 shots at stefon clark. we didn't know how many times he was hit. according to the independent autopsy, they say he was hit eight times all times either from behind or to the side. dr. bennett who the conducted the autopsy says none of them were from the front. he believes that clark was actually facing his grandmother's house at the time that the first shot basically came in from the side, hit him near his armpit. that spun him around. then the next six shots were behind him and then the eighth and final shot hit him in the leg either as he was falling down or while he was on the ground. dr. amalo also believes clark was still alive for three to ten minutes after he was shot. this is key in the minds of a lot of people because clark did not immediately receive medical attention. steve? >> all right, joe fryer out in sacramento. thank you for that. on wednesday, white house press secretary sarah sanders was
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questioned about the fatal shooting of stefon clark and the absence of charges in the alton sterling case. this is what she had to say. >> certainly a terrible incident. this is something that is a local matter, and that's something we feel should be left up to the local authorities at this point in time. the president is very supportive of law enforcement. but at the same time, in these specific cases and these specific instances, those will be left up to local authorities to make that determination and not something for the federal government to weigh intoing. > at the funeral, reverend al sharpton called out the white house for their response. here's what he said. >> let me say yesterday, the president's press secretary said this is a local matter. no, this is not a local matter. they've been killing young black men all over the country. >> and for his part, president
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trump has weighed in on a number of local issues. take a look. >> the result in the death rate around sanctuary cities in and around for innocent americans is unacceptable. take a look at what happened in san francisco and kate steinle and countless others. >> the city of chicago, what the hell is going on in chicago? there are those that say that afghanistan is safer than chicago. >> for more i'm joined by basil smikle, former executive director of the new york state democratic party and jen kerns former spokeswoman for the california republican party. jen, it is certainly true that the white house has not weighed in on every local issue. there's exceptions but it's also true they have weighed in on some. you hear the case there from al sharpton saying this is one where something ought to be said. what do you think about that? >> i agree with you. i think the statement from the
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white house was a bit ineloquent. clearly from your clips anyone can see that the white house has weighed in on local issues. i think this case is different and this is why you're seeing president trump not weigh in on this. you've got a case here where you've got the first african-american police chief in sacramento. seems to be doing a very good job. the police department issued those body cam recordings within i think 48 hours. i think that was a good start. they also released, which they didn't necessarily have to, release the overhead helicopter video as well as radio transmissions as well as the 911 tape. so by and large, i think the sacramento pd is doing a good job following protocol. i think that's why you see the white house not weighing in. compared to the kate steinle case, clearly you had a city that was part of this sanctuary city policy that president trump vehemently disagrees with and he was not sure that there would be
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justice served for kate in the end. in fact, there was not. that's why you see he would weigh in on one topic, maybe not the other. he has a bit of confidence that the proper procedure is being followed here. >> what do you think, basal? >> from the president's part it's hypocritical. he has weighed in on local issues related to police brutality. when nfl players took a knee to protest police brutality, he called hem sobs. whenever it comes to the lives of african-americans in this country and latinos in this country, he is silent or he rails against them which he did throughout his campaign. what we've seen is the president saying that the white house is not going to get involved. he might as well as say we don't care. to me, the objectification of black lives we are taxed disproportionately, we are joiled disproportionately and killed at the hands of police
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disproportionately and the white house is basically saying to us you cannot and should not go to the federal government for any recourse. you cannot go to us for any help and support. we've seen that in the way that he has gutted the civil rights division of the department of justice. we've seen that over the last few years when you look at the supreme court rulings with respect to the voting rights act, it's a signal to communities of color, anybody that cares about equity anywhere that the federal government is not open. >> is that -- donald trump got 8% of the black vote in 2016. there's a broader pattern here. you got to go back 50 years to find a republican candidate who cracked 20% of the black vote. it's not just donald trump. everything basil was talking about that's bigger than this case in sacramento, do you see donald trump and the republican party coming up short in addressing that? is that linked to the vote totals every four years. >> most of what you mentioned happened before donald trump took office. you have to remember he's been
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in office about a year. so i don't think he can own a lot of things like the trayvon martin shooting. police shootings were happening long before president trump took office. we have to be clear be that. what you stee president trump trying to do here and he goes at this as a businessman, is he trying to work on behalf of the communities. we see african-american unemployment at its lowest rate ever recorded in american history. he's trying to effect change in those ways. i do acknowledge could the white house have been a little morel went about the response, should they have put out a statement, it is true. we have high stakes negotiations with north korea coming up, we have critical deadlines looming with issue, russian aggression, attacking our allies. i think when the president decides to weigh in on something, he weighs those factors i mentioned again which is are the local police doing a good job, do they understand the -- i think the african.
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>> let me just ask it this way though. when you look at the% he got, when you see polls, it's right around that level. is he miss agopportunity herer to communicate something different? maybe not just this one story but in general? >> it could be. in the wake of the parkland shooting he brought families to the white house. he could offer an olive branch to the family here in sacramento, invite them to the white house to have this conversation. maybe they have that planned. i don't know. >> he's not done it. i don't expect him to do it because the families don't have the same color skin. and i feel that. i feel that to my core that this is a president that just has no ear for being able to engage communities of color. and i think that the entire administration is just saying we're done, we're going to be hands off on this. >> let me ask you this. if he's watching this or thinking about this and he hears something like you just said and says i want to show that's not the case, what's one thing he
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could do to start to change the dialogue and perception? >> he could say come out and say look, and actually owing to your comment earlier, yes, there were some shootings under president obama but president obama made very specific statements about it. he got pilloried on the right for doing so and to some extent on the left for not doing it early enough but he made comments about the communities of color and the relationship with law enforcement. donald trump could do that and that would signal to some people he's making an attempt. i don't think he's going to solve that problem fully. i don't think that under his administration that you would see a lot of progress. but i do think to answer your question specifically, if he's going to make some inroads, come out and acknowledge there's a problem and talk about how you're going to use the resources of the federal government to address it. >> here's what i. >> we've got to go. >> here's what is not helpful. you saw the protests outside the sacramento kings arena. i worked my sources today in
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sacramento. they said those were outside protesters outside agitators not members of that community. if you're looking to bridge the gap between police and african-americ african-americans, start with the african-american police chief in sacramento working with that family. that's the way. >> i there are a lot of emotions in sacramento right now. thanks to both of you. up next, a new poll out today shows the majority of americans are ready to protest. what do they want to protest? what issues? we've got data for you. i'm going over to the big board. we'll show you, that's next here on "hardball." you're trying to lower your very high triglycerides with a healthy diet... and exercise. and maybe even, unproven fish oil supplements. not all omega-3s are clinically proven or the same. discover prescription omega-3 vascepa. the one that's this pure... and fda approved. look. vascepa looks different... because it is different. it's pure epa. vascepa, along with diet,
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well, we were just talking about the protests out in sacramento that are going on right now. last week in washington around the country, it was the march for our lives. there was the women's march last year. you go back a couple years, there were all those tea party marches, those protests. sometimes it can feel like we're living in an era of protests. guess what, there are some numbers out there that back that up. brand-new, nbc/"wall street journal" survey on activism and protests in america right now. how about this for a question. we said is there something that upsets right now in america enough to carry a protest sign to go out there and join crowds. look at there, 57% of americans say yeah. sign me up. i'm ready to go protest.
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there is a partisan split on there. democrats and republicans are both ready to protest. democrats though right now are more ready. 69% of democrats say ready to hit the streets. republicans still it's a small majority but it's a majority at 50% saying yes, 48% saying no. what's firing up democrats and republicans? because they're not going to be protesting for the same reasons. we gave them a menu of choices. could it be this cause or that cause. a whole bunch of options. here are the most common answers for each party. these are interesting. for republicans, they would be ready to protest for protecting borders and limiting immigration. that was their top choice. also maintaining the right to purchase firearms. those are the two top issues republicans say would get them protesting for democrats increasing racial equality and addressing climate change, racial equality and climate change. those are the most animating issues on both sides of the
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divide right now. a couple other things we found in the poll that are interesting. want to point out to you, there's a question of this is the story of our times, the dem xwraf if i cans of this country are changing fast. that increasing diversity, how do the two parties feel? let me read the wording. it's complicated. we asked do you agree or not, are you comfortable or not with this. i feel comfortable with these changes in our society because what makes the country special is taking the very best from people of different experiences and backgrounds and creating a country that thrives in its diversity. 74% of democrats say they agree with that statement. 29% of republicans. the statement that republicans were more likely to agree with is that i feel uneasy with these changes because what makes the country special is our uniquely american experience, speaking english and a shared background that brings us all together. that was more resonant with republicans. a big split there. that is -- i thought we had one after that but we didn't.
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you get a real sense both sides of the aisle right now are very, very animated in this moment for different reasons you. some interesting findings there from our new nbc news/"wall street journal" poll. up next, the white house playing defense over the latest cabinet shake-up. david shulkin is firing back at the trump administration. not everyone's on board with the president's new pick. you're watching "hardball."
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welcome back to "hardball." outgoing veterans affairs secretary david shulkin is leaving the trump administration but not going quietly. shulkin accusing the trump administration in its political appointees within the va of conspiring against him and his management with the goal of privatizing the va. shulkin also told chris hayes he spoke with president trump just hours before he was fired. >> when is the last time you spoke to him? >> i spoke to the president yesterday. >> what was that conversation
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like? >> we spoke about the progress that i was making, what i needed to do from a policy perspective to make sure that we were fixing the issues in va. >> wait, that's before you were fired? >> that's correct. >> you spoke to him. he made no mention of the fact that he was about to terminate you? >> that's correct. >> and then you found out via tweet? >> right before that, the chief of staff kelly gave me a call which i appreciated, gave me a heads-up. and so -- but that was much after the phone call. >> white house staff are now playing catchup in defending shulkin's would be successor, ronny jackson after being blind sided by trump's announcement. they planned to announce wednesday that ed leave the administration and be replaced by robert wile at the defense department until a nominee was found but trump preempted the plan when he tweeted he intended to nominate jackson. michelle goldberg is a columnist
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for the "new york times," noelle nikpour a republican strategist and manically know from news day. not surprisingly, i don't have a good idea of what happened here and why it happened. there's a couple of theorys and suggestions out there. shulkin saying look, this was about a scheme to privatize the va. you had this scathing inspector general's report sitting out there about shulkin and the cost of his trip to europe with his wife. you've got that. you've got trump's tendency to make sporadic decisions. was this more about shulkin or more about trump wanting jackson? >> it's hard to discern what it's actually about. we have a sense the white house aides are not ready to answer all the questions about ronny jackson and his qualifications. he's a doctor and active duty member of the armed forces. what qualifies him to run a troubled and large agency. where does he stand on privatizing health care for
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veterans. >> it does seem, michelle, in some ways this is consistent with what we know about trump and his style. in other ways putting it somebody like jackson forward seems like the sole qualification we've seen is what he did on television. >> trump also wanted to hire his pilot to head the faa. this is somebody who has kind of contempt for governing experience, makes snap decisions and really could care less about qualifications. i think one of the stories so far has been that the federal government has morse or less sort of held together despite having this chaotic incompetent team an the top. and we're going to see over the coming years the corruption and incompetence trickle down in a way that starts to affect people's lives because although ronny jackson is kind of universally beloved by people in the white house, it is crazy to move somebody from managing a team of dozens to managing the
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second biggest agency in the u.s. government. it's just madness. >> do you think republicans -- he has to get confirmed by the is that the. republicans have the votes there. do you think they'll all be on board with this. >> probably so if the president wants him, probably so. they have recently become friends. we don't know what kind of private conversations that trump and jackson have had. because i can tell you one thing, i do not there that trump would have appointed this if jackson and he did not speak of this, if he didn't say something about the va. i don't think it blind sided jackson. i think they said they've been close in recent times. that they've been speaking so i think what happened is i think that he is has discussed something with jackson. i think jackson gave him a few ideas about the va and what he would do. i bet five bucks that can what ended up happening is he thought you know what? this guy could touch around the va and he's there.
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>> i bet a thousand dollars that trump does not -- that they have not had substantive policy conversations about what should happen at the va should it be privatized? how should it be reorganized. to the depths of my soul i'm positive that is not what went on there. >> it does feel like there's asymmetry and the trump campaign for president. the trump message in 2016 was the ones who you think are supposed to have all these important positions screwed the country up. let me the total outsider come in. >> it was also i will hire the best people, not a bunch of kind of crohnies and fox news. >> did it mean the best credentialed people or the people i in my gut think are the best. >> the people he in his gut are the people he thinks look good on television. >> i'm going to push back on that. the reason why is because he won this campaign and beat out 16 people that were very qualified.
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he beat out bush, he beat out a ted cruz, marco rubio. look at the whole line of people he beat out. did he this really by putting his own motley crue together. kellyanne conway, look how many times he changed people on his campaign over and over and over again. really donald trump had the credit for the winning team strategy to get where he was. so he feels like that he can have a strategy for the white house. >> the fact that he managed to eke his way out to a freak minority victory does not mean this kind of crazy improvizational thing he does is a way to run the government. >> up next, it turns out david shulkin has a lot in common with some of the other people who have left the trump administration next. you're watching "hardball." rk. starting with advanced manufacturing that brings big ideas to life. and cutting-edge transportation development to connect those ideas to the world. along with urban redevelopment projects worthy of the world's top talent.
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programming noit this sunday chris matthews will have a look at one of the most influential people on the planet. pope francis. >> eahe's a spiritual leader of more than a billion catholics not to mention his 40 million twitter followers. [ speaking foreign language ] >> pope francis is more than a religious leader. >> had o the holy father is not just another guy with an opinion. >> he's an advocate and an activist. offering a strong voice on climate change.
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[ speaking foreign language ] >> i think pope francis honestly has revolutionized the church. >> the msnbc special "headliners pope francis," this sunday 9:00 p.m. eastern. we'll be right back with the "hardball" roundtable. ama. from scandalous romance, to ridiculous plot twists. (gasping) son? dad! we also know you can avoid drama by getting an annual check-up. so we're partnering with cigna to remind you to go see a real doctor. go, know, and take control of your health. it could save your life. doctor poses! dad! cigna. together, all the way.
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luckily for him, he uses super poligrip. it helps give him 65% more chewing power. leaving brad to dig in and enjoy. super poligrip. welcome back to "hardball." va secretary david shulkin isn't the only person president trump has fired without telling them to their face. former fbi director james comey learned of his ouster while at an event in los angeles according to "the new york times." television screens in the background began flashing the news in response to the reports, mr. comey laughed saying he thought it was a fairly funny prank. nbc news also reports trump was angry copy used a government plane to return home to washington. trump announced the departure of reince priebus via a tweet from air force one. former secretary of state rex tillerson also reportedly
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learned he was fired following a tweet from the president that came hours after returning from an overseas trip. we are back with the "hardball" roundtable and emily, everybody remembers the boardroom scene at the end of every episode of "the apprentice." he walks in, stares straight across the table at that week's victim and says you're fired. when it comes to his own administration, folks aren't hearing this from him. >> it's not even that he can't fire them to their faces, he can't in a phone call. my first impression is that he really wants to be liked and doesn't want to be the bad guy and doesn't want to do the dirty work. that doesn't make sense. no one will like you if you fire them in a tweet. this gets a ton of ink and a ton of air time. the vast number of exits is going to get a lot of publicity. this makes it more dramatic. he likes chaos. >> he's saying it to millions of
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people. >> first of all, he's a fraud. reality tv is not real and people who pride themselves on not believing the liberal media should realize they should not believe reality television. so donald trump is incredibly nonconfrontational in person. if you've had to fire someone, it's unpleasant. he'll never do something unpleasant when he can have somebody else do it for him. this is annive decent way to treat people. >> you've got realize donald trump's background, a lot of people, i used to work for rudy guiliani. he was a big supporter of rudy guiliani. the way that the rumor has it the way that he did real estate negotiations is he would go in kind of just throw something out there and then basically turn around and walk out and leave everything in shambles for the rest of everybody to pick up. that's his style. his style. >> seems like what he does on twitter. >> that's his style is to be kellyanne conway, i'll quote her. he's a disruptor.
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she said it. i mean, it was over and over and over repeated rhetoric but that's the truth. he is a disruptor. if you've noticed we're all pawns in the game anyway because every time there's something that comes out, he will tweet something and the entire news story will change around what he has tweeted out. i have been booked for segments after segments on something we have topics ready to go and everyone goes wait a minute, he just tweeted. >> we're talking about it right now. >> there we go. >> bigger picture here, too, the firing of shulkin and tillerson, on and on. it seems like this is going to continue. if you can take a step back, is there any constancy besides trump himself within the administration or is slowly a new and different administration emerging here? >> it is a turning point, a turnover kind of turning point. i think of it as a spring cleaning. he's in spring cleaning mode even though he's technically in mar-a-lago mode right now. he is ready for a clean slate
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and sees it would be better to do it all at once. >> these three have the easiest job in the world. they tell me something i don't know. you're watching "hardball." ♪ applebee's to go. order online and get $10 off $30. now that's eatin' good in the neighborhood.
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we're back with the "hardball" roundtable. michelle, tell me something i don't know. >> a woman in texas has just been sentenced to five years for voting when she was on parole and she didn't realize that she wasn't able to vote.
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and her ballot was caught before it even went through. she's now going to prison for five years after just serving a three-year sentence for tax fraud and is now going to be separated from her children again. >> noel. >> i have a prediction. my prediction is that cynthia nixon will totally beat out cuomo in the primary. we're going to see a woman. >> that's the republican dream in new york state, isn't it. >> yes. >> how do you win an election? we'll see. sometimes be careful what you wish for. emily. >> news day is all over the coverage of the federal corruption trial and a lot of big names have come up. one is a nassau county chairman but also trump's nominee to be ambassador to turks and cake yoes. you can expect the allegation he got a $25,000 discount for a wedding for his daughter made by a restaurateur who pleaded guilty to bribing other officials. he denied any wrongdoing and
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there's no evidence that he got anything in exchange. that might bungle his confirmation process a little bit. >> political corruption in new york. thank you. that is "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. chris matthews will be back monday and "all in with chris hayes" starts right now. >> tonight on "all in." >> we're going to end the government corruption and we're going to drain the swamp in washington, d.c. >> new allegations of corruption from the swamp of donald trump's creation. >> you're right about the swamp. say it again. >> tonight, what looks like the most egregious abuse to date from a member of trump's cabinet. plus, why robert mueller's investigators detained a mystery trump ally at an airport this week. new reporting on the drinking games inside the white house personnel office. examining the trump fence. in thing 1 thing 2. >> it's not a fence. it's a wall. as

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